History of Christmas Postcards

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When I sat down last week to take care of the most time-consuming and expensive of all my Christmas projects–that of preparing Christmas cards–I wondered how this dying art form got its start.… Continue reading

Messiah: History of a Beloved Oratorio

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During the month of December, it is almost impossible to not encounter a portion or all of the Christmas movements of Handel’s Messiah. If you are a member of a choral group, as… Continue reading

Hurray for the Parade!

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Thanksgiving in the United States has many memorable customs, some sublime—prayer, gratitude, history—and some less so—leftovers, football, parades. Parades? Yes! The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has imbedded itself in American consciousness, but folks… Continue reading

The First Thanksgiving

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As the days grow shorter and colder and the leaves fall from the trees, it’s time to celebrate the holidays. Thanksgiving has always been my family’s favorite holiday, beating out Christmas by a… Continue reading

Flanders Fields

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The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. . . November 11, 1918. In a railway carriage in the Compiégne Forrest some 65 km from Paris, the first step in… Continue reading

Caring for Veterans

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…to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address In recent years news of long waits, mismanagement, and even incompetence in… Continue reading

It’s Pumpkin Carving Time!

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There are many holiday traditions we tend to take for granted without ever giving a thought to how they originated. One of these is pumpkin carving at Halloween. How did the humble pumpkin… Continue reading

Chariots of Fire: the Rest of the Story

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Bring me my Bow of burning gold: Bring me my arrows of desire: Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold! Bring me my Chariot of fire!              … Continue reading

Doomed to Repeat

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Turkey has invaded Syria, and, fearing Russia expansionism, the West intervenes. Sound familiar? That was the situation in 1839. While researching a current work in progress I stumbled on The London Convention of… Continue reading

Civil War Spies and the Rise of the Pinkerton Agency

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The Civil War was the most different war America ever fought, since there was no clear-cut way to tell friend from foe. No bright red uniforms, no British or French accents. Everyone was… Continue reading